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We’re coming up in a few months to the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. The Tet Offensive was a combined military action and civilian uprising throughout South Vietnam, orchestrated by the North Vietnamese, and intended to win the war in a single stroke. The most dramatic of these actions was the capture of Hue, the cultural capital. The battle to retake Hue, fought over 24 days of bloody street fighting with the loss of 10,000 combatant and civilian lives, was the bloodiest battle of the entire Vietnam War. This new account of the battle has been written very much from the point of view of the people on the ground – Bowden relies significantly on first-person accounts from American servicemen and Vietnamese soldiers, guerrillas and civilians. The Tet offensive, and the battle of Hue, were a tipping point in the war – the American debate moved from winning the war to working out how to leave. Mark Bowden will probably be familiar to some listeners who have read his earlier books like Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo. This new book lives up to his reputation: it’s a classic narrative about he role of grit and the individual soldier in urban battle.
There’s nothing like a good, racy historical thriller to while away a miserable day. And the weather hasn’t been kind to us so I’ve needed a few lately. Robert Harris has written numerous fabulous books – his series on ancient Rome are among my favourites. But my favourite Robert Harris books are the ones set around the time of World War 2, like Fatherland and Enigma. So I’m delighted that he’s penned us another novel set in this time. It’s set in 1938, at the Munich Conference, and it’s a real page-turner. Cancel all appointments before you start page 1. This is compelling fictionalised history. Chamberlain is faced with a situation, as the world faces today with North Korea, in which options don’t appear to be available. Two fictionalised characters, Paul Hartman, a German diplomat and a member of the anti-Hitler resistance, and Hugh Legat, one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries, were friends at Oxford, but haven’t met since Hitler came to power. Now their paths cross again, and this time the stakes are high.
Many of us will spend some time in the south west over spring, summer and autumn. When you’ve had your fill of wine and food, you’ll probably want to enjoy the bush and the coast that the area is famous for. What better way to do it than on foot. So it’s very timely that Jane Scott has updated her book “Walking the Capes” – this new edition, now called “Walking Round in Circles”, has 29 walks that will suit everyone – whether you just want a short stroll, or you want a full-day walk. They all start and end in the same place, so you can conveniently park and walk. And they’re described in detail, with time estimates, distances, clear maps and photographs.
For a film nerd like myself, this book is a pure delight. The book, released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the very first Star Wars film, is a collection of forty different stories by forty different authors, each story retelling a moment from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope from new points-of-view. We get to find out what happened to the storm troopers who didn’t find the droids they were looking for, the tale of the red droid Luke didn’t buy, the back-story of the cantina band, and more. This collection oscillates between classically great science fiction storytelling to playful reinvention of familiar moments. An absolute highlight for me is the HR incident report from the military chief who was choked by Lord Vader, and is most upset about Lord Vader proselytizing about his private faith in the workplace. Much like Alderaan, this book is a real blast.
As a good Scandinavian, Margareta reflects that the Vikings sensibly buried their relatives with many of their possessions. Although this was to make sure that the dead wouldn’t miss anything in their new world, it was also very effective at getting rid of a lot of “skrap” (Swedish for junk) that the relatives didn’t really need. Unfortunately, these days we’d need an Olympic sized pool to be buried in if we took all our “skrap” with us! We’re all going to die one day, and the message in this book is that we should put our house in order so that or loved ones don’t have to spend days or weeks sorting out all the accumulated junk in our lives. And if we are going to move to a smaller home, or even a nursing home, then having our house in order will make the transition so much easier for everyone involved. I was lucky, my mother (the last to go) did some kind of Australian version of Swedish Death Cleaning, and it was easy for me and my siblings to deal with everything. Except for the soap – she had 30 cakes of soap stashed away. We’re not quite sure why. For some of us though, we need to convince our parents to do some death cleaning. And Margareta has excellent advice on how to do that tactfully, but effectively. This is a practical guide to how to downsize, and it’s very droll. For example, discussing how we all get new stuff before the old has worn out, but often keep the old stuff in a cupboard, she counsels us to throw out the old stuff, saying “this crazy consumption we are all part of will eventually destroy our planet – but it doesn’t have to destroy the relationship you have with whomever you leave behind”. How practical! There’s advice on every aspect of death cleaning – whether it’s clearing out man caves (“mansdagis” – male kindergarten, in Swedish), or getting rid of gifts that you didn’t want but don’t have the heart to throw away, to dealing with pets (Margareta recommends that if you’re old, go to the pound and get an old and tired dog too), and to the “little black book” – the one with all your internet passwords. This is a delightful and useful book on a subject that we shy away from, and if we take Margareta’s advice we can probably actually make our lives (what’s left of them) a lot more enjoyable!
This is my favourite novel from the 2017 Man Booker Prize shortlist, and is the first of a quartet from Smith. Hilarious, poignant and clever all at once, it is set in England (just) post the Brexit vote. Academic Elisabeth Demand visits her mother in the country and relates some of their difficult history. In a nearby hospice lies Daniel Gluck, an old neighbour with whom Elisabeth had been very close. Now well over 100 years old, Daniel is not expected to last long, but remembering their friendship, Elisabeth begins to visit and sit with him. Over the course of several weeks in Autumn, as the country reels from the recent vote to leave Europe, Daniel dreams, Elisabeth remembers, and she and her mother begin to connect.
The New Scientist magazine regularly publishes books that make the various areas of science accessible to all of us – both authoritative and at the cutting edge. This latest one focuses on the human condition, the experience of being alive and the events and stages we face in our journey through life. It will tell you what science tells us about generosity, belief, disgust, why we pick up bad habits and find it hard to kick them. It covers life’s phases from birth to death, how children change their parents and the upsides of old age. With entertaining infographics and great photographs, this book takes us on a very enjoyable exploration of what it is to be human.
This book is the incredible evolutionary journey of the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous molluscs who would later abandon their shells to rise above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. And they took this journey quite independently from the route that mammals and birds would later take. The octopus “is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien”, the author writes. The fact that they have eight legs, three hearts, and blue-green blood allies them more with The Simpsons’ gloopy extra-terrestrials than anything earthly. They’re very clever: one story in the book is of an octopus at the University of Otago in New Zealand that learned to turn off lights by squirting water at the bulbs; brightness annoys an octopus. Cephalopods are not only aware of their environment; they seek to manipulate it. This is a fascinating and very well written book by a philosopher of science who also happens to be a keen scuba diver – a keen insight into one our most remarkable animal relatives.
Well, psychopaths certainly don’t seem human. But they are, and they’re here, and we all have to deal with them from time to time. 5 to 10 percent of people are probably psychopathic without ever indulging in a single criminal act. These everyday psychopaths are often charming when you first know them, but may leave you feeling cheated and humiliated, dominating and manipulating you to the point where you question your sanity. This book is a guide to restraining these difficult people in your life. It helps you understand the condition, recognise psychopaths at home and at work, and managing them if you can’t get them out of your life.
Theme Solutions and Boffins Books are proud to present Dave Graney as he speaks about his new book Workshy: My Life as a Bludge. Dave Graney will be speaking in conversation with Bob Gordon.
Boffins Books present a Perth CBD signing with Australian cricket captain Steve Smith to coincide with the release of his new book, The Journey.
Kate (talented designer) and Jela (originally from W.A. – horticulturist and landscape architect) have worked together on this superb book. If you’re a bit bored with the “bush garden” aesthetic, but still want to use natives in a more creative way, then this book is for you. Our garden has too many shady places, and I’m inspired by what I’ve found in this book. It took me on a journey into the rainforest, and introduced me to plants that I can use, and to using contrasting foliage textures. The book also features some of the people who champion Australian plants, from landscape designers, to plant scientists, to sculptors and textile designers, and they reveal some of their fascinating secrets of how they use our beautiful plants. With this book, you’ll be able use Australian plants in new ways that make your garden a delightful place.
This is the first full-colour publication of some of the most extraordinary botanical prints of the 18th Century. Joseph Banks was a gifted naturalist who accompanied James Cook on his first voyage around the world between 1768 and 1771. He collected exotic flora along the way – from Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia and Java. On his return, he commissioned over 700 superlative engravings of these specimens, as a scientific record. Known as Banks’ Florilegium they are some of the most precise and exquisite examples of botanical illustration ever made, yet they were never published in Banks’ lifetime. This selection is made from a unique limited colour edition of the prints, with expert botanical commentaries. If you love botanical illustration, or you have a special person in your life who does, this book is for you.
We’ve had a few books on bush foods over the years, but often they’ve been less than approachable. This one is different, not just because it has recipes for Sandalwood Nut (Sandalwood Nut and Seed Crackers – perfect for cheese and bikkies, imagine them paired with Nullaki or Torndirrup Native Herb cheese from Dellendale down south in Denmark). The authors describe it as “their humble little cookbook”, intended to introduce us to the edible natural wonders Australia has to offer, with recipes and inspiration for 40 of our most interesting and beneficial bush foods – hence superfoods. They include extensive information on where to get the bush foods for these recipes, and when the various ingredients are in season. You can find them fresh, frozen or dried, so it’s not as hard as we imagine. For each ingredient, there’s a page of interesting background on the native ingredient, including how it was traditionally used. Then, there’s a double page with each recipe and a photo of how it should turn out. Whether you fancy finger lime guacamole, or Green curry with native ginger leaf, or quandong syrup pancakes, you’ll find the recipes here.A great way to get in touch with the wonderful bush foods that are available and can give a unique taste to our food.
Sleeping Beauties is an impressive collaboration between blockbuster novelist, Stephen King, and his son, Owen King. It’s a sci-fi/horror blend, telling the story of a pandemic that sweeps across the globe, a sleeping disease that only infects women, and leaves them unconscious and wrapped in cocoons. What follows is a horrifying world of men without women, a world falling apart. And things only get worse when some of the women get forcibly woken – coming back from their sleep as terrifying and powerful creatures. Sleeping Beauties is definitely a weird novel, but the father-son writing duo have created a true epic, one reminiscent of other Stephen King classics – like The Stand, with its own world under threat from a pandemic, or Under the Dome, with another high-pressure situation revealing the worst of people. Let’s hope we see another collaboration from the Kings again soon.
This is the perfect book of cartoons for those who like reading, writing and everything in between. Gauld’s incisive scrutiny of literature, the creative process, the literary life and modern pop-culture manages to be funny, enlightening, gently irreverent and nerdy-cool all at the same time.
In her first novel in a decade Minette Walters has moved away from crime friction and turned her gaze on fourteenth century England and the devastation caused by what would later come to be known as The Black Death or The Plague. For many years Walters, who lives in Dorset, has been aware that under the ground she walks on every day there exist ‘plague pits’ - mass grave sites where countless bodies were buried. It is thought the disease entered the England on the Dorset coast around 1348 and wiped out around half the population.
The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and Boffins Books, are proud to present former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans as he speaks about his new memoir, Incorrigible Optimist. Gareth Evans will be in conversation with Professor Stephen Smith.
I loved the adventures of Arthur and Trinket as they escape the ghastly Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. Shy Arthur, who dreams of music and finding his home, and bouncy Trinket who fizzes with energy and faith in Arthur’s destiny, make a wonderful heroic pair. The world of Lumentown, above and below, with all its strange creatures and inventions, is beautifully drawn (literally sometimes - the book includes many charming illustrations) and is a great mix of Dickens, steampunk and Wind in the Willows all rolled into one.
This is just the most wonderful book – and the recipes come from all sorts of books. There are some great ones from famous children’s books. A Farmhouse Lunch for Five – Steak and Ale Pie, accompanied by pickled beetroot and pickled onions, comes from Enid Blyton’s “Five Go on a Hike Together”. And from “Winnie the Pooh” by AA Milne, there are wonderful Hunny and Rosemary Cakes. Given the weather we’ve been having, what could be better than the Clam Chowder from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick’. This is a delightful book, each recipe starting with a quote from the book, giving the context for the recipe. Then there are Kate Young’s own little stories related to the book or the recipe. And last, the recipes itself, described in a lovely step-by-step manner. A delight of a book, and useful too!
Following her record breaking Ancillary series, Leckie returns to the same fictional universe in this riveting tale of murder, power and political turmoil. Leckie is a powerful writer who can perfectly balance the construction of an intricate fictional universe with the inclusion of fascinating characters.
A hiking trip in the Giralang ranges intended to be a team building exercise goes horribly wrong when one of the five hikers disappears and the others struggle to find their way back to base camp. As a search is mounted for Alice Russell the AFP becomes involved. Alice, it turns out, was a whistleblower, about to hand over final documentary evidence against the company she worked for. Her four colleagues each give a slightly different account of what took place on the hike and the police are unsure if they are dealing with an accident or a crime. Alternating between the story of what happened on the hike and the investigation and search for Alice, Force of Nature is as tense and compelling as Harper’s debut novel The Dry.
As a long time fan of Peep Show I was interested to see Robert Webb write a book that seemed to be the opposite of his character Jeremy. This book is extremely well-written and absolutely delightful to read. As well as a lot of funny moments – poking fun at his own teenage angst – it has a lot of heartfelt honestly such as the moment when he confesses his concerns about still being a virgin to his dying mother. Not just a book for fans of Webb’s comedy, this is an insight into a young man’s strained relationship with his father and how it came to be that way.
Over the last 30 years there’s been a huge amount of archival material opened up, in Russia of course but also in other countries, that allows a re-examination of the Russian Revolution. Sean McMeekin has done just that in this compelling new one-volume history of the revolution that went on until 1922 and in which over 20 million people lost their lives. It’s not dry history – orgies, vodka, Rasputin, pogroms, and of course the First World War on the eastern front all ornament the story. But most of all, it’s a tightly structured story of how the revolution descended from its democratic beginnings into a Bolshevik takeover – with the connivance and help of Russia’s enemy, Germany
Alexander Hamilton was one of the founding fathers of the U.S.A., and in case you don’t know, in 1804 he was shot and killed in a duel by one Aaron Burr, Vice-President of the United States. Poor Burr, lumbered with this legacy! Well, decades ago, in 1973 in fact, Gore Vidal came to Burr’s rescue in his wonderful historical novel It’s just been reprinted. It’s a superb tale that will have you curled up in a chair in no time. Best of all, Gore Vidal, who could always be depended upon to cause an upset, presents Burr as a hero rather than as a scoundrel. It was the first in Vidal’s American history series. It’s set in the 1830s, so there’s the story then, but also the story based on his recollections of the revolutionary war, the early history of the Republic, and his famous contests with Hamilton and Jefferson. It’s an amazing work of historical imagination and hugely entertaining, and a fabulous antidote to Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. So good to see it reprinted and available to a new generation.
Most people will have heard of the Mitford sisters, members of an English gentry family of the twentieth century.They became celebrated, and at times scandalous, figures that were caricatured, according to The Times journalist Ben Macintyre, as "Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover; Nancy the Novelist; Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur". Jessica Fellowes wrote the five official companion books to Downton Abbey, so she’s no stranger to historical fiction, particularly of the upstairs downstairs variety. Now she’s written the first in a crime series set in 1919 and starring Louisa Cannon, who escapes poverty in London to become a nursemaid and companion to the Mitford sisters at Asthall Manor in rural England. 16 year old Nancy is her favourite. But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret. Louisa meets railway police officer Guy Sullivan early in the novel. He’s ambitious and yearns to join the ‘real’ police so, when Florence Nightingale Shore’s case goes cold, Guy continues investigating the murder himself. With occasional assistance (and encouragement) from Louisa and Nancy. It’s well written and researched, touching on a lot of issues of the time – just after WWI – including the impact of war on those fighting and those left behind, the position of women (their lack of formal schooling), the class system as well as families and relationships. It’s an entertaining mystery, with a few good red herrings, and a great period setting.
Boffins Books are proud to be the offical bookseller at Lions Alzheimer's Foundation's book launch for Maggie Beer and Ralph Martins' Maggie's Recipe for Life.
I couldn’t resist having a go at this book, though I did wonder if I would be giving up part way through with disappointment if it was all too self controlled. In fact, I found it fascinating. I don't think it would be possible to write a book of this size so soon after suffering a loss so big without revealing a lot about yourself. In particular I liked the nitty gritty detail of putting together a campaign; typical days on the road; preparing for debates; the email scandal; Russian interference, etc. Clinton reflects on history, especially of women in politics and gives some insight into her personal life, particularly on what it feels like to lose a race most people thought she would win. She has had a long life in the public eye spanning significant changes in American history and politics and her views make interesting reading.
Some years ago William Taubman wrote a superb biography of Nikita Khrushchev, the Russian leader after Stalin. I read and loved that book. I’m delighted to say that his new biography of Gorbachev is just as interesting, and just as long (852 pages). It starts with his upbringing on a collective farm in the Caucasus, through his university days studying law, his marriage to Raisa, and his rise through Communist Party ranks. In power from 1985, he brought about great changes which eventually led to the breakup of the Soviet Union, to economic reform and to democracy. We’re all familiar with perestroika and glasnost. This is fascinating book, not just for the intrigues but for how it reveals life in Russia at the time, and Gorbachev’s (and Raisa’s) travels and encounters with world leaders.
This is perfect for a starter in YA thriller (when you've read so much fantasy you start to sweat fairy dust) with a perfectly fitting mishmash of contemporary and historic vibes so as not to overwhelm but to keep you intrigued.
Part sporting memoir, part leadership game plan, this book is a masterclass from one of the all-time greats.
This book gives you all the technical know-how required to become an expert in the art of baking. It includes everything, from the fundamentals you need to know through to recipes for breads, Viennese pastries, brioches and more.
Back to his Pillars of the Earth best, this new novel from Ken Follet is set at the beginning of the war between the Protestants and the Catholics.The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else – no matter the cost.
Boffins Books and The Comedy Lounge are proud to present an in conversation event with comedian Joel Creasey as he speaks about his book, Thirsty: Confessions of a Fame Whore. Joel will be interviewed by Janelle Koenig from Mix 94.5.
The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies, UWA Publishing and Boffins Books are proud to present Josephine Wilson as she speaks about her book, Extinctions, to celebrate winning the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award.
To celebrate the new release of the newly updated Kingfisher Space Encyclopedia, Boffins Books is having an outerspace fun themed event for the School Holidays.
To celebrate the new release of Iggy Peck's Big Project Book for Amazing Architects, Boffins Books is having an architect fun themed event for the School Holidays.
Boffins Books present a Perth CBD signing with Australian music icon Jimmy Barnes to coincide with the release of his new book, Working Class Man.
Ten year old Justine Lee lives with her Pop, a survivor of the Burma railway, on the banks of the Murray river. She loves the river and its surrounds, escaping there as often as she can to play and explore. Justine’s mum left years ago and her dad’s visits are unpredictable and often violent. At school Justine is increasingly isolated, unable to read or write and too shy and confused to speak up about it. By the time she hits puberty, something else she doesn't really understand, Justine is in a very vulnerable position and suffers for it.
This is an irreverent crash course through the great thinkers of the world. It even has a section on new agers – and the authors illuminate the dimness of new age thought with this joke:
A.C. Grayling has written this book as a response to Brexit, and to the election of Donald Trump, neither of which events he likes. He argues for representative democracy (where the lawmakers we choose make the decisions based on exploring the issues and the evidence) as opposed to authoritarian leaders (lots of power to the leaders, as opposed to the legislature) and populism (knee-jerk decisions by often uninformed people, often in referenda). The book is full of examples of situations through history that have much in common with what’s happening now in the West. Not everyone will agree with him, but it’s a book to get you thinking about the issues from new angles
Boffins books are delighted to partner with Luna Palace Cinemas as they present a special screening of VOYAGE OF THE SOUTHERN SUN to coincide with the Australian Geographic Voyage of the Southern Sun National Screening Day Sunday, October 29, 4pm at Windsor Cinema, the day before the book is released into bookstores.
Young Jane Young is the timely story of the Lewinsky-esque intern Aviva Grossman who, after an affair with a married congressman in Florida, resorts to changing her name, changing careers and moving states in order to escape the scandal. However, many years later, she tries to return to the world of politics and the scandal resurfaces. The novel sits right in the nexus of dozens of extremely topical issues, from slut-shaming, to public humiliation, from the culture of the Internet to political sex scandals and juggles them with skill, grace and a heavy dose of feminist wit. Absolutely worth reading.
Wake in Fright is a 1961 Australian pulp classic, turned into an infamous cult film of the same name. It tells the story of an Englishman, John Grant, teaching in one-room school in a remote Australian town who tries to get back to Sydney for Christmas holidays. Instead, he ends up broke and stranded in a small mining town, at the mercy of the locals and his life slowly turns into a bloody and alcohol-infused nightmare. The book has just been adapted again as a two-part miniseries set to debut on Channel 10 later this year, so now is the perfect time to rediscover this gritty thriller.
This is the gruelling and heartbreaking story of 14-year-old Julia “Turtle” Alveson and her extreme survivalist doomsday-predicting father Martin. They live in an isolated derelict house, stocked up with food to last three years and enough guns to arm a militia. As Turtle goes to school though, her isolated existence and mindset begin to crumble, and she starts to see her father for the controlling and sexually abusive monster that he is. A startling and frank exploration of some deep psychological torment, this book isn’t for the faint of heart, but it rewards the effort if you have the ability to see it through.
I’m actually surprised at how popular jerky has become, and at how many customers come in asking for a book to learn how to make their own. This book is the one people seem to like best, and it covers not just meat, but also fruit and vegetable jerkies. It has the old favourites like biltong, but far, far more – even Bloody Mary straws (made from ham) which would be great if you didn’t have any celery sticks. There are even recipes for Jerkys for your pets!
If you want to get deeper into home cheese making, I recommend this book which has been available for a couple of years and is very popular. It covers the fresh, unripened cheeses like ricotta and quark and cream cheese. It also shows you how to make hard cheeses – feta, cheddar, haloumi, edam, parmesan and the stretched curd cheese like Mozzarella and Bocconci. Blue mould ripened cheeses are covered as are the washed rind cheeses and goats milk cheeses. All the equipment you need is explained, the instructions are nice and clear, and you’ll be off on a new adventure with this book.
We’re all becoming aware of the importance of good stomach bacteria to our health – Michael Mosley has certainly been on a mission to spread the word. We stock quite a few books on fermenting, but I just love this new book by Sydney wholefood guru Holly Davis. It’s a superbly set out and illustrated book that will have your mouth watering. Best of all, Holly Davis makes preparing fermented foods a breeze.There are numerous versions of Kimchi, salsas and chutneys. Fermented drinks like ginger beer, mead, various vinegars, shrubs (a kind of fruit concentrate) are all covered and there are great recipes for brined foods – pickle your own vegetables with these recipes, or if your lemon tree is full now think of preserving them. It’s easier than you think to make your own cultured foods like kefir, crème fraiche, butter, buttermilk, Kombucha. If baking is your thing, leavened foods are thoroughly covered: sourdoughs, pastries, cakes, batters, flatbreads. Incubated foods are there too - yogurts and labneh, cheeses, the Japanese koji and miso, the Indonesian tempeh. And Cured foods – vegetables, meat, fish and tofu cured with salt or a ferment – get thorough coverage too.
Twins Aneeka and Parvaiz have been mostly raised by their sister Isma, who put her own life on hold when their mother died. When they finish school Isma resumes her studies and moves from London to the US to complete her PHD. As his twin also begins a new life at University, Parvaiz flounders, feeling he is being left behind by both his siblings. His loneliness and vulnerability are spotted by Farooq, who befriends the young man and slowly but surely converts him to the jihadist cause. The resulting tragedy, in fact a modern retelling of the Greek play Antigone, pits State, family, faith and the individual against each other in a chillingly timely tale.
This is my favorite book for 2017. I am so excited about it and I've been dying to rave about what an awesome novel it is. Aimed at primary-middle readers Lintang and the Pirate Queen is an adventure for all ages. The characters are bold and well moulded, the village lore and culture rich and diverse. Book one in a series of five, Tamara Moss really makes me feel like I'm part of the adventure and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it, breaking it down until I picked it up again and the exciting plot kept me wanting more.
Exquisitely beautiful and sad in equal measures, Hide is a novel to take your time over and savour every word.
If you like a dram of the holy water, you’ll love this book. Rachel says that whisky in Scotland is like heat in Australia – it’s everywhere. She’s obviously never been for a swim in Esperance, but we’ll give her a bit of licence. She also says that whisky is to Scotland like food is to the Mediterranean – which has really made me think about the Mediterranean diet, and how I might tweak it. This is a real romp through the world of Scotch whisky, its history and its myths. Rachel travelled the length and breadth of Scotland visiting the ubiquitous distilleries to find out how all the different whiskies are made, drunk, and even cooked with. Highly recommended, a book as full of spirit as the drink itself, you’ll laugh and learn together.
The You Am I front man has written his autobiography, and it’s a hot seller in our music biography section. Kalgoorlie born Rogers has a big larrikin streak, and he’s also a bit of a dandy, and this is a delightfully open and offbeat memoir that will keep his fans in their seats. Great for all the rockers out there (it’s a sturdy hardcover), and beautifully written as you’d expect from such a fine wordsmith.
This handy guide asks us to question the information fed to us by politicians on matters they are barely qualified to speak on. Whether it’s about vaccination, fracking or climate change, Levitan shows the ways in which our law-makers misunderstand data or flat out mislead the public with information that sounds legitimate, but does not hold up to scrutiny if we take the time to question it. And all of it under using the disclaimer of ‘I’m not a scientist but…’
Retired spy Peter Guillam is called to London to face an investigation into covert operations he took part in decades before during the height of the Cold War. As he answers, avoids and deflects questions from a younger generation of intelligence officers, he and they rake over the details of events he has spent decades trying to forget. Where exactly is his old master and hero, George Smiley? Is Peter going to be made a scapegoat for the consequences of Operation Windfall? Did the end really justify the means all those years ago, and were the gains made in the Cold War battle against the Russians worth the lives sacrificed and the integrity compromised? As the present and past stories unfold side by side, John le Carre weaves a suspenseful tale of moral ambiguity.
General Gordon Bennett was commander of the Australian 8th Division in Singapore in 1942. When the British surrendered to the Japanese, Bennett escaped to Australia because he believed that he could share useful information about Japanese fighting tactics to help in the war ahead. Prime Minister Curtin accepted this, but the army high command believed that he should have stayed with his men. It’s been one of the biggest controversies in Australian military history ever since. No-one doubts Bennett’s courage or ability – he became a General at the age of 29 years in France in World War 1, and he had a reputation in both wars as a fearless fighter.But did he do the right thing in leaving his men behind? Or did he just become a scapegoat for British military failings? It seems that most of his men thought he was right, but the top brass – and ultimately a Royal Commission – disagreed. This book is riveting – the long standing mutual dislike of Bennett and Commander in Chief Thomas Blamey started before World War One runs through it. It’s a great history of the 8th Division and of the fighting in Malaya and Singapore, and Bennett in particular.
I've yet to hear anyone say a bad word about Wally Foreman. He was both liked and respected personally and professionally. I spent hours listening to him commentate on the cricket from the WACA and remember his enthusiasm and humour on air. I also recall his fierce advocacy on behalf of the WA Institute of Sport and athletes in general. Legend From Bruce Rock is a lovely tribute from a son to his father, but also an important record of a man who contributed so much to this state.
Boffins Books present a book signing with former Western Australian Premier Brian Burke for his new book, A Tumultuous Life.
The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and Boffins Books present a different sort of book launch – Clear to the Horizon – with author, musician and screenwriter, Dave Warner. Accompanied by a guitarist, Dave will entertain us with songs, poems and tales about love, his early life in Bicton and writing crime fiction.
A wealthy English woman walks into a funeral parlour one day and arranges her own funeral. Six hours later she is strangled to death in her home. Ex policeman Daniel Hawthorne is acting as a consultant on the case and approaches the author Anthony Horowitz to write a book about his work. Horowitz doesn’t much like Hawthorne, but can’t resist the puzzle of Mrs Cowper’s murder and the chance to observe a real life criminal investigation. He’s been writing fictional crime for years but never come close to the real thing, so he agrees. The Word is Murder is a fun read, like a mixture of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, but with the added twist of the main character being a real person who narrates the book. Where the line between fact and fiction lies is part of the puzzle. I liked all the stuff about the business of writing - dealing with agents, watching your stories being adapted for TV or the big screen, the pressure of deadlines etc. There’s a hilarious scene in which Hawthorne interrupts and ruins a meeting Horowitz is having with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson about his script for the forthcoming Tintin movie.
The original world war 2 jeep – about the size of a VW beetle with the engine at the front and without a roof – is a legend. In 1942 the US military developed an amphibious version, with a boat shell over the top (a roof at last!) although it wasn’t all that successful or widely used. A West Australian, Ben Carlin, who served in World War 2 in India, saw the amphibious jeep and became obsessed with the idea of circumnavigating the world in one. He acquired one, christened it “Half-Safe”, and taught himself the mechanical skills to maintain the vehicle. He had no GPS nor satellite radio, and no sponsors to track his journey. And he really did it! New York to New York, 1947 to 1957. What he thought would take 6 months took 10 years. How’s that for tenacity? He crossed the Atlantic in it, crossed deserts, changed wives midstream, and with the aid cigarettes, the bottle and even amphetamines he made it. This is a rollicking story of his journey, which will appeal to anyone with a spirit of adventure. And if you want to see the amphibious jeep that Ben travelled in, it’s sheltered here in W.A. at Guildford Grammar School – where Ben Carlin had been a student in the 1920s.
Tony Jones, ABC journalist and host of Q&A, has created a curious blend of fact and fiction. Last year, Tony Jones made the controversial claim that Croatians had been responsible for terrorism in Australia in the 1970s, a claim disputed heavily by people in the Australia’s Croatian community. In The Twentieth Man explores that notion in even greater detail, through the eyes of fictional ABC journalist Anna Rosen. I don’t know how well the novel corresponds to reality, but as a work of fiction, it’s an exceptionally paced historical political thriller, featuring real-life characters such as Attorney General Lionel Murphy and a young George Negus, plus an amusing cameo from Paul Hogan, interacting with fictional characters that feel just as three-dimensional.
Michael Connelly, best known as the author of the Harry Bosch series and the Lincoln Lawyer series, is one of the most prolific writers in the crime genre. The Late Show is the first book in a new series focussing on Detective Renee Ballard, a detective who works the night shift for the LAPD – she starts cases as they come in at night, but is forced to hand them over to the day shift detectives every morning. It’s thankless and unrewarding work that Ballard is clearly too good for. One busy night three different cases come in and Ballard makes the risky decision to pursue them herself during the day whilst still working the night shift. Ballard is a tough, smart and distinctive character making this first book a perfect jumping-on point for anyone curious about why Michael Connelly is so popular.
Michael Brissenden has been a political and foreign correspondent since the 80s and he’s used that experience and knowledge to create his first novel, The List. The story revolves around Sidney Allen, an army veteran working for an Australian Federal Police counter-terrorism unit. The book kicks off with young Muslims on the terror watch-list turning up dead and Allen’s investigation leading to the conclusion that Australia is about to face a major terror attack. The whole book works as a great way to take a Tom Clancy/Andy McNab-style thriller, with that blend of mystery-solving, military escapades and espionage, and transport it into a local setting.
Many people just love to go to those “off the beaten track” places that hardly anyone else goes to. Secret Marvels of the World is full of all sorts of unusual places you can visit, from eerie natural wonders to historical oddities and bizarre architecture. To give an example, if you’ve been to London once or twice or three times, you might be wondering else to visit there. This book gives you the top 10 of London’s strangest sites. If you’re like me, you probably haven’t heard of most of them. But now I’m raring to go to the Plague Pit at St Pauls, and General Eisenhower’s Air Raid Shelter. And then it would have to be off to Norway to see the Global Seed Vault – you can actually do a tour of this place, where, safely stashed in the vaults, there are the seeds of over 4000 plant species - just in case we ever have to begin again after a global disaster. And visit Angkor Wat by all means, but why not try the Creepy Crawly Market in Siem Reap, where you can savour the best cooked crickets, moth larvae, water bugs and tarantulas. Insect street food Cambodian style! This book is lots of fun, and it’s jam packed with hundreds of places to visit that can make your holiday different and allow you to experience things outside the normal tourist traps.
Last year Lonely Planet published Epic Bike Rides of the World, and it was one of our bestsellers through to Christmas. This year, perhaps with the less athletic of us in mind, they’ve produced a superb companion volume Epic Drives of the World. If you’ve dreamed of driving Route 66, or the Gibb River Road, or a self-drive safari in Zambia, then here is the information you need to get started. There are 50 of the best drives in the world in this book – for car drivers, motorcyclists, and there’s even a tour of northern California that you can do with an electric vehicle! And after each drive, there are additional suggestions for similar drives – If you like the Targa Florio, there are suggestions for more racing circuit drives you can do around the world. It’s a fabulous inspirational book to help make your next holiday a great one.
Boffins Books present a book signing with Glen Foreman for his new book, The Legend From Bruce Rock: The Wally Foreman Story.
In 2009 senior Australian journalist John Lyons travelled with his wife Sylvie and son Jack to Jerusalem. His new position as the paper’s Middle East correspondent was one he had long coveted and he was determined to make the best of his tenure. Over the following six years he, Sylvie and Jack would come to love their new home and many of its people, but would also be filled with sadness and horror at the wars that surrounded them. The conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Gaza, the Occupied Territories, Egypt and elsewhere were exactly the sorts of stories Lyons expected to cover. What surprised him was the strength, depth and tenacity of the public relations campaign(s) aimed at controlling the outside world’s perception of events in the region.
In a small town in the south west an attempt, at times tentative, is being made at reconciliation. Although some of the locals dispute the history, for the Wirlomin people, the area was the site of a massacre of their ancestors that has made it taboo for generations. Now some have returned, invited to the opening of a Peace Park. Among them are brothers Gerald and Gerard, both struggling with a history of drink, drugs and crime. Joining them is a young teenage girl Tilly, just discovering her heritage. Tilly has experienced great trauma but shows even greater resilience. A local farmer, Dan Horton, tries to honor his wife Janet’s memory by reaching out to the group.
The second terrorist bombing in Bali in 2005 claimed the lives of 20 people and injured 100 others. David Craig is a former Australian Federal Police agent who headed the investigation into the 2005 Bali bombings. This is a first-hand account, a real-life thriller, that shows what really went on behind the scenes as they tried to piece together the evidence to find the killers. When finally the terrorists were cornered, it ended in a real-life wild-west shoot out. This is a fascinating book that also explores the backgrounds of the terrorists, their radicalisation, and how David Craig believes that things can be changed for the better. In particular, it explores the radicalisation of Jamaah Islamiyah’s master bomb maker Azhari bin Husin - a former outgoing, engineering student at Adelaide University who loved a party, in such a way that his radicalisation becomes tragically comprehensible.
In 2013 Chris Turney led a scientific expedition to Antarctica, on the ship Shokalskiy – a polar research ship. It became trapped in the ice on Christmas Eve 2013, when the hull was pierced by a tower of ice. Fierce blizzards and roaming icebergs thwarted attempts to rescue the 71 people on board – who included Turney’s wife and children. This is a fascinating story of the drama, with the ice closing in and the hopes of rescue growing dim. They were stuck for over a week. Even the rescue is tense – will the ice break as the Chinese helicopter lands to collect them…?? And it’s more too – we learn about the latest scientific findings from Antarctica, and about famous explorers of Antarctica like Shackleton, Mawson, Scott and Ross who had to contend with similar situations without radio communications or helicopters to bail them out
This book is about a magician named Cosentino who helped a spade named Ace escape from the King's army. The puzzler tries to stop Cos escaping the arcade using tricks and she cheats. But it's not an arcade, it's really a dungeon. But Cos and his friend trick her back. I loved the book because it's funny, and it's great for people who like adventure and magic. Plus mean kings.
Boffins Books and Taste Budds Cooking Studio are proud to present a hands on cooking workshop with Alex Elliott-Howery from Cornersmith to coincide with the release of Cornersmith: Salads & Pickles.
A much needed interdisciplinary collection of essays which seeks to contextualise and explain the growing global trend away from liberalism and towards popularism.
This is a well-researched and masterfully constructed account of the systematic and sustained genocide committed against indigenous Tasmanians in the nineteenth century. Brodie weaves together archival records from both Tasmania and the UK to reveal the scope and nature of the violence.
It's always nice to have a new book from Robert Drewe, and lovely to see his first full length novel is some time. As he spent most of his childhood here in Perth and continues to write about our side of the continent, I think we can claim him as a West Australian.
UWA Institute of Advanced Studies, UWA Oceans Institute, the City of Perth Library & Boffins Books are pleased to present Charlie Veron on The Life Underwater.
Matt Haig has a remarkable ability to take fantastical premises and fill them with warmth and humanity. His vampire novel, The Radleys, became a touching family portrait and his alien novel, The Humans, became a beautiful exploration on the difficulty of fitting in. Now, with How to Stop Time, he turns his touch to immortality – or rather, near-immortality. Tom Hazard has anageria, a rare condition that has him looking just 40 years old, despite being born in 1851. He keeps his condition a secret and works as a history teacher, always maintaining his one rule to keep his long lifespan bareable – that rule being “don’t fall in love”. As you might expect, that rule becomes difficult to maintain. How To Stop Time is a charming and empathetic book, a perfect crossover between literary fiction and fantasy, and a must for fans of either.
Stephen King’s It has been a landmark horror novel ever since it was published in 1986. Much more than an ‘evil clown’ story, It tells the story of seven friends, as both children and adults, as they face off against an ever-changing monster and its impact on their hometown. Stephen King tends to be dismissed by snobs, but I’ve yet to read a novel with more fully-realised characters, such sharply-attuned sense of place and time, or such impressive control of tension. Guaranteed, it’s the fastest 1100 pages you’ll ever read. And now, thanks to the new movie, it has a beautifully creepy cover as well.
Now a major motion picture starring Emma Watson & Tom Hanks.
A stunning first novel from poet Lang Leav, who approaches issues such as anxiety and teenagehood with her signature romantic style.
This painfully relevant debut is a tale of modern womanhood, told from three distinct and gripping perspectives.
I don't believe the person exists who would not be able to find something of interest in this wonderful book. Jim Robbins shares his fascination with all things ornithological with such enthusiasm that it is impossible not to be won over. Whether it be for their intrinsic value or their value to us, their beauty or their brains, our appreciation of birds is centuries old. As descendants of the dinosaurs, birds provide us with a window into the past. They literally help to feed and cloth us, and the discovery of their brains’ plasticity is contributing to the field of human neuroscience. Humans have coveted their colours, their coats, their method of transport and their voices. Step by step Robbins takes us through a variety of species and traits that will fascinate and endear.
This is a cracker. It’s a 688 page, jaw-dropping story of child soldiers and the drug wars in Colombia. As he did with Marching Powder, Rusty Young has done the research. He worked secretly for the US government in Colombia for four years, so he encountered the sorts of people and situations that he has fictionalised in this novel. He wants the voices of the child soldiers to be heard, and he has made it happen in the most compelling way. This is just the most electrifying revenge thriller and coming-of-age story, and all of us at Boffins highly recommend it.
This book means a lot to us at Boffins Books, because of the background story. It was originally a “print on demand” title, but now Hachette Australia have secured the rights to publish it here. The Minimalists, Josh and Ryan, visited Perth from the United States late in 2014. We’d been contacted by them some months before, asking if we’d organise an event for them. They hoped to draw a crowd of 100 or so people, and they printed that number of books for us and shipped them to Perth. When we held the event, over 1,000 people attended. We had to run two sessions, one after the other, for everyone to be able to hear these guys talk. Needless to say, only a tiny fraction of the attendees got a book.
A compelling account of the two aviatrixes who flew for Germany during WWII. While their lives ran parallel these women could not have been more different – one in full support of the Axis goal, the other covertly planning to assassinate the Fuhrer.
When WWII began hundreds of thousands of men and women dedicated their lives to the Allied war effort. These are the stories of those who chose a different path, the fascists, thieves and traitors who found themselves on the wrong side of history.
This is a very handy introduction to watercolour, taking inspiration from great masters like Turner and Constable. It would be great for people starting out, lots of tips about preparing paper, what brushes to use and building layers to create depth.
Calligraphy and hand lettering is coming back into fashion. People are now designing custom lettering for their businesses, invitations for weddings/baby showers and birthdays cards from home with ease and books like this really help you craft beautiful and readable letterforms. This book is perfect for beginners to intermediate, will show you what nibs to use, what inks to buy and covers brush lettering too for those nervous about using a traditional ink and nib combination. Handing someone something handwritten really gives such a personal touch.
This book is about crazy experiments that are all pretty complicated but with dad's help, I had fun. My favourite experiment was the boogy gloop because I got to rub it all over my brother at the end.
I absolutely adored this book by Fiona Palmer. I could be wrong, but I think it's her first venture into 'life lit' and away from rural romance. Her usual readers won't be disappointed though, there's plenty of romance in this, however, it does make you ponder that happily ever after means something different for all of us.
It's about a group of girlfriends who embark on a cruise, only to have their secrets exposed as a result of the confines of the trip. I laughed, I cried, and I gobbled it up when I should've been doing other things. When a book makes you forget the time, it's perfect in my opinion. If you live in WA, you'll notice all the local attractions sprinkled throughout. I loved this part of it.
One thing is for sure, you'll finish this book wanting to grab life by the horns and enjoy every minute of it, because you never know what's around the corner.
Marina Abramovic’s 2010 MoMA performance The Artist is Present garnered worldwide attention, both positive and negative. In "The Museum of Modern Love", Heather Rose has crafted a novel around the performance, and it is a strangely compelling one. Performance art isn't really my thing and I admit that before starting this book I might have been inclined to roll my eyes a bit at it, plus I found the main character, Arky, pretty unsympathetic. And yet I thought the novel fascinating and may now need to revise my ideas about performance art. I loved the plethora of strong female characters and the sharp observations about the art world and modern day society.
This is the fascinating history of how sugar became so important to us, and of the brutal human cost and the ecological harm caused by the sugar plantations. The problem of sugar is on everyone’s lips. But before about 1600, in the West, sugar was a costly luxury available only to the rich and powerful. James Walvin has written extensively on slavery in the Americas, and as slavery enabled the cheap mass production of sugar he’s the right writer for this book. By 1800, slavery in the sugar plantations had made sugar a cheap, ubiquitous and hugely popular product, even among the poor. Australians consume about 50kg of sugar per person per year, so this is an important subject for all of us.
This book is based on Tim Harford's BBC radio series. Each of the short chapters describes fifty products or inventions that have revolutionised the modern world – like the gramophone, barbed wire, the contraceptive pill, air conditioning, the clock, razor blades and so on. They include the Compiler, without which installing your next version of Windows might take about 5000 years. And the barcode, which he credits for the demise of the corner store. It’s a great romp through human inventions and ingenuity, if you’re inquisitive you’ll just love it.
A splendid package consisting of a paperback book and 40 frameable prints, this is a must-have for any lover of botanical art.
Alex Bellos tells the story of the puzzle and along the way asks us to test our wits against some of history’s most famous problems.
A beautiful book of gorgeous botanical illustrations, in a large format so you can appreciate the level of detail!
A beautifully presented book perfect for any budding or experienced physicist.
A series of essays and infographics which aim to briefly explain how things came to be.
Accompanying the BBC TV series, this book showcases the beauty of the planet from savannah to city.
Both frightening and fascinating, this book moves between three time periods to examine our relationship with and reliance on bees - important pollinators now at risk of disappearing. One part of the book follows a scientific researcher in in 1852 England, determined to improve his family's life and bring fame to his name by inventing a new and superior beehive. The second part is the story of an American beekeeper in 2007 struggling to stick to tradition in the face of modern farming - and colony collapse disorder. The third part of the story is set in 2098 China - bees have long since disappeared, and Tao is a hand-pollinator in a world that has been ravaged by food shortages. Each character has their own difficulties and also their own pleasures - the joy of research, learning and family bonds is woven throughout as well as the sorrows and terrors faced by the three protagonists. A good pick for fans of Barbara Kingsolver.
A well-written mix of memoir and contemporary research into drug addiction. Jenny Valentish explores her own history of substance abuse and addiction, and speaks to a variety of researchers and professionals. She also examines the gendered nature of addiction - how we talk about, and react to, male and female addicts in different ways, for example the prevalence of Borderline Personailty Disorder diagnosis in female patients. The book also talks about treatment and how it differs from country to country - Australia's harm minimisation policies compared to America's War on Drugs. Being based in Australia, Jenny does shine a lot of light on Australia's situation and this book is a must-read for any Australian to get a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding drug addiction.
If We Were Villains is pretty much The Secret History meets Shakespeare. Oliver Marks, after serving ten years in jail for murder, agrees to meet up with the detective who put him away. The detective thinks he made a mistake, and Oliver promises to tell him the true story. From there we meet seven theatre students, who are all as endearing (and as pretentious) as the real thing, who end up unwittingly going through the motions of their own Shakespearean tragedy. It’s a perfect book for Donna Tartt fans, and the ending will knock your socks off.
Get Poor Slow is about Australian literary critic Ray Saint, an alcoholic with an addiction to pain pills, and disliked by almost everyone who knows him or knows of him. All those details work against him when a young publishing assistant turns up dead and he was the last one to see her alive. He ends up on a mission to prove to everyone he didn’t do it – and because he was intoxicated and blacked out at the time of the murder, he’s got to prove it to himself as well. The whole book is a retro pastiche of Raymond Chandler-esque crime novels, filled with sardonic humour and starring an anti-hero protagonist. What gives the novel an extra edge is that this story of an unlikable critic is written by an actual literary critic, David Free. One hopes that piece of trivia is the only similarity.
The perfect book for people who daydream about leaving the modern world behind and disappearing into the wilderness. This is the story of the ‘last true hermit’ Christopher Knight, a man who left society behind and lived without any human contact for 27 years. Including anecdotes of thieving expeditions to local cabins and winters spent at the brink of starvation, this is a raw and shocking account of a life lived on the edge.
The long-awaited memoir of everyone’s favourite ‘action transvestite’ Eddie Izzard. This autobiography is both touchingly intimate and bitingly funny.
A small German religious group, led by their young pastor, Edmund Helfgott, lives quietly in rural South Australia some time in the late 19th century. One day their peace is shattered by a murder suicide in their community which leaves teenager Benedict Orion orphaned. Alone on the farm he once shared with his parents, Benedict retreats to the barn and withdraws from the human world. Unable to to consider what has happened, or face what is to come, the boy focuses all his attention on the here and now and the lives of the horses he now lives with, attuning himself to their moods and rhythms. Pastor Helfgott visits, hoping to bring some comfort to Benedict, but increasingly concerned about his condition. This is a remarkable book. Given that it opens with such a violent act, and there is more violence to follow, its soothing tone is testament to the quality of the writing. It is essentially a tale of the healing power of animals, of time, and of nature.
The City of Perth Library and Boffins Books are delighted to launch Home Time by Campbell Whyte.
Join us for a light breakfast and the opportunity to meet the exceptionally talented Noel Whittaker AM, Australia's Financial Wizard of Oz as he gives insights and information that can be applied to your own life and workplace.
These fairy tales aren’t for children – devilishly witty and gruesomely dark, these new twists on old stories are sure to shock and thrill.
All of Atwood’s stories are gems but Oryx and Crake is a true diamond. Set in the near future, genetic engineering has spun out of control leading to the fall of the human race and the rise of strange and disquieting creatures. Part love story part environmental dystopia, this is the first novel in the MaddAddam series.
State Buildings and Boffins Books are delighted to present Wine & Words with David Mearns as he celebrates the release of his new book The Shipwreck Hunter.
The memoir of one of the women who sparked the Women2Drive campaign that encouraged Saudi women to film themselves behind the wheel (something technically not illegal but ‘against tradition’). This is a compelling account of what life is like in Saudi Arabia, and the restrictions that enclose its female citizens.
A worthy attempt to separate the fact from fiction regarding the mythicised Amazonians. Drawing from archaeology, mythology, art, and folk lore, Man makes a convincing case that, while they may not have been a commune of promiscuous, male-child murdering warriors, their mythological reputation has its roots in the traceable historic truths of several Eurasian nomadic tribes.
A vibrant set of short stories, all focussing on people navigating contemporary Australia, all focussing on people who feel like outsiders in one way or another. I usually don’t go for realist fiction, but Melanie Cheng writes her stories with such deft characterisation coupled with a surprising and wry sense of humour, that it was impossible not to be drawn in. Plus the stories are such a broad cross-section of Australia that you’re bound to find characters you know well from your own lives, strangers you’ve always wondered about and maybe a character or two you identify a little too closely with. I’ll be very surprised if this one doesn’t get attention in next year’s literary awards.
The City of Perth Library and Boffins Books are delighted to present Michael Smith on Voyage of the Southern Sun.
One of the (if not the greatest) comedic science fiction authors to ever put pen to paper. The Hitchhiker’s Guide is a series of five books filled with some of the most genuinely funny and thought provoking prose I’ve had the pleasure to read. It’s one of my favourite books and I’m sure if you’ll give it a chance – one of yours too.
One of the (if not the greatest) comedic science fiction authors to ever put pen to paper. The Hitchhiker’s Guide is a series of five books filled with some of the most genuinely funny and thought provoking prose I’ve had the pleasure to read. It’s one of my favourite books and I’m sure if you’ll give it a chance – one of yours too.
Oliver Sacks is truly my favourite science writer. His genuine compassion, intelligence, and charm are more than evident in this iconic collection of curious neurological cases.
Fleeing the grey weather of England, the Durrell family decides to relocate to the sunny Greek island of Corfu. This biography is vivid and electric – its beautiful prose brings Gerald’s childhood and the various wildlife of Corfu into tangible reach. The family dynamics are quirky, light, and Gerald’s love for them fairly bleeds through the pages. A true classic that is suitable for young and old readers.
Fleeing the grey weather of England, the Durrell family decides to relocate to the sunny Greek island of Corfu. This biography is vivid and electric – its beautiful prose brings Gerald’s childhood and the various wildlife of Corfu into tangible reach. The family dynamics are quirky, light, and Gerald’s love for them fairly bleeds through the pages. A true classic that is suitable for young and old readers.
This is really good rich storytelling from American writer Ann Patchett. Essentially it is a family drama spanning several decades beginning in 1960. Bert Cousins and Beverley Keating each leave their respective spouses, marry and move from Los Angeles to Virginia with Beverley’s two daughters, Franny and Caroline. Each summer, Bert’s four children come to stay, so they are temporarily a blended family of eight. The only problem is, they don’t really blend that well and Beverley doesn't cope with six children to care for, so they run a bit wild. When a tragedy occurs, the already difficult situation becomes near impossible. Years later Franny tells the story to a writer she falls for and he writes a novel clearly based on her family. Not everyone knows, and certainly not everyone is pleased with her. Patchett deftly weaves together the different time periods and threads of the story while maintaining suspense.
Part philosophy and part pop psychology, Jules Evans looks to branch out from the restrictions associated with stoic philosophy to investigate ecstasy and the joy that can be found from experiences including art, music and religion.
State Buildings and Boffins Books are delighted to present Wine & Words with David Michie as he celebrates the release of his new book Buddhism for Pet Lovers.
This book is touching and profound without being graphic. Thomas McBee talks about his abuse at the hands of his father, and a mugging as an adult that could have resulted in his death. These two events weigh on his mind as he tries to make a life changing decision - to transition from female to male. This book is his exploration of what it means to be a man, and what sort of man he wants to be, drawing on the flawed examples he’s found in his own life. It seems cliché to call a book like this profound but it is truly thought-provoking.
You know how some people get really passionate about Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter? Well, the Dark Tower is my Lord of the Rings. With the film coming in late July, this is the perfect time to start the 7-book (plus extras) magnum opus. If you’re read Stephen King before you will find familiar worlds and characters appear throughout Mid-World. If you’re a lover of epic fantasy, Clint Eastwood’s the Man With No Name, or stories about worlds that have ‘moved on’ and left their ruins behind, pick this book up. ‘The man in black fled across the desert…’
The series that revitalised the genre, this is a work of such scope and depth that it is certainly one of the best fantasy epics ever written . Be sure to read the set and enjoy feeling more smug that your friends who only watch the show.
A debut novel that is sure to leave an impression, this story follows the journey of Meridian Wallace, a brilliant scientist who chafes under the restrictions of early twentieth century America
Characteristic of Murakami’s particular brand of magical realism, this is a tale that begins in suburbia but quickly slips into the unreal and the strange. Equal parts comedic and melancholic, this collection of three books in one volume is a bizarre and gripping masterpiece.
A fascinating account of the complex and enduring systems of land management used by Indigenous communities in pre-colonial Australia. Gammage oscillates between scientific evidence and oral histories to construct a well-researched and engaging story.
By and far the best exploration book I have ever read. Cherry recounts the ill-fated polar expedition of R.F. Scott, of which he was one of the youngest members. This is a story that, while ending in disaster, bleeds with love, beauty, and an engaging scientific curiosity.
The book that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical of the same name, Alexander Hamilton is the fascinating history of one of the most interesting men to have ever lived.
There are few things more frightening that the thought of being trapped inside your own body- totally aware but unable to communicate. This is precisely what happened to Jean-Dominique in 1995 when he suffered a debilitating stroke and all but one eye was paralysed. A wistful, witty, and devastating account of one man’s determination to live as fully in his mind and he did in his body.
Sophie Stark; genius, charismatic, deceased. This is a tale told by the people who knew her best – or thought they did. A book that manages to be both bewitching and disturbing and is well worth a read.
A beautiful selection of photographs and interviews; this book invites you into the homes of plant lovers to see how they’ve incorporated plants into their lives and their living spaces. A gorgeous edition to any home library
A beautiful selection of photographs and interviews; this book invites you into the homes of plant lovers to see how they’ve incorporated plants into their lives and their living spaces. A gorgeous edition to any home library.
From childhood misadventures creating ill-advised taxidermy creatures to more recent misadventures careening around the world trying to track down illusive bee species – Goulson’s obsession with wildlife is both charming and informative.
What began as a viral blog post in 2014 has evolved into this well-written and extensively researched look at contemporary race relations. This book explores the wider community’s failure to understand and engage with the systematic structural nature of racism.
This is the survival story of John Aldridge, an American lobster fisherman who found himself suddenly lost overboard at 3am – he would not be rescued for a further 13 hours. This story weaves together John’s first hand account with the stories of his family, community, and members of the rescue effort. Tense and riveting, this is a well-told account of a dangerous job.
In the 1870s the Osage peoples were driven off their land and forced to live on a barren reservation. This was later discovered to be one of America’s largest oil deposits and the tribe became instant millionaires. In the 1920s they suddenly and mysteriously started being killed off. This Grim tale follows the story of Mollie Burkhart, a rich Osage woman who suddenly finds herself entangled in web of lies and murder.
Brenna Hassett is a bio-archaeologist – a specialised area of science that reconstructs the lives of past humans from living remains such as skeletons. This book charts the history of human urbanisation, disease, and death in a way which is both informative and engaging.
This is definitely a Boffins kind of book. The prose is very unusual and lyrical. It deals with bullying and mental illness but in a way that is wholly original, with subtle memory jabs to David Almond’s style of writing. It’s raw and quirky, covering contemporary issues with grace and sophistication. A wonderful book for young readers ready to move on to something with more depth with a positive message and resolution.
Boffins Books and The Women's Council for Domestic & Family Violence Services (WA) present a breakfast event with Dana Vulin. Dana will talk in conversation about her truly remarkable story of survival, strength and triumph in the face of unspeakable horror, as revealed in her new book Worth Fighting For.
This is easily one of the best novels I’ve read this year. Although fiction, it is based on George Orwell’s life, or at least the last third of it, which of course includes the period when he wrote Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four. Although I've read those books, albeit years ago, I don't really know anything about Orwell himself so I’ve no idea where the line is between fact and fiction in this novel, and that somehow made its reading even more enjoyable, given Orwell himself was so concerned with truth telling. The style is clean, clear and punchy, a bit like Orwell’s really. His struggle to survive both literally and as a writer is fascinating. As the events around him provide the material and inspiration for his writing, reading this novel feels like witnessing the creation of two great masterpieces.
The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and Boffins Books are proud to present renowned philosopher A. C. Grayling as he speaks about his latest book Democracy and its Crisis.
This book is about a kid named Patty who likes to play football, but then he starts to play basketball. He's not as good at the start but he has friends supporting him and he learns to believe in himself. People who like football and basketball would like this book.
City of Perth Library, UWA Extension, UWA Oceans Institute and Boffins Books are pleased to present A.C. Grayling. His new book, Democracy and its Crisis, investigates why the institutions of representative democracy seem unable to sustain themselves against forces they were designed to manage, and why it matters.
Join author and historian Leigh Straw as she discusses the topic of her new book After the War: Returned Soldiers and the Mental and Physical Scars of World War I (UWA Publishing, August 2017).
Learnability Professional Development, UWA Cultural Precinct, City of Perth Library and Boffins Books are pleased to invite you to attend a compelling public discussion featuring Benjamin Law on Moral Panic 101: Equality, Acceptance and the Safe Schools Scandal.
Boffins Books and Subiaco Library are pleased to host Eugene Schlusser for the launch of his new book Escape from the Sun: Surviving the Tyrannies of Lenin Hitler & Stalin.